Australia tough out ODI win over Sri Lanka
Australia have overcome the loss of captain Michael Clarke and averted disaster by squaring the one-day series against Sri Lanka at 2-2 with a tough 32-run victory at Bellerive.
An unbeaten century from Phil Hughes and three wickets apiece from Xavier Doherty and Moises Henriques have helped the home side to a fighting win after they were down 2-1 in the series.
Without their skipper and best player due to an ankle injury and less than a week after being bowled out for 74, a disastrous 3-1 loss on home soil beckoned.
But Hughes cracked 138 from 154 balls, his highest ODI score, to anchor Australia's 5-247 and set up a daunting run chase for Sri Lanka.Doherty (3-21) then removed three of the tourists' top four and Henriques (3-32) made crucial breakthroughs to drag Australia off the canvas.
The Lankans had cruised to 0-57 before losing 4-20 to all but crash out of the decider.
They were 1-57 when Mahela Jayawardene, in his last match as captain, was caught for 38 from 39 balls attempting to chip Doherty over the infield.
Doherty struck again in his next over when he had Lahiru Thirimanne (1 from 10) caught in the deep at 2-62.
When Henriques had Tillakaratne Dilshan (19 from 48) caught behind it was 3-71 and Doherty bowled Dinesh Chandimal (6 from 10) for 4-77.A patient 79-run stand between Angelo Mathews (67 from 79) and Jeevan Mendis (26 from 40) for the sixth wicket would have brought flashbacks of Mathews' match-winning performance at the MCG in 2010.
But Henriques bowled Mendis in the 44th over at 6-187 and Mitchell Johnson (2-45) removed Mathews without a run being added to have the home side in sight of victory.
Earlier, Hughes' second hundred of the series included 13 fours and a six, David Hussey the home side's next best with 34 from 39.
Clarke failed to recover from an ankle injury he suffered in a training drill on Tuesday, his place taken by spinning allrounder Glenn Maxwell in a revamped batting order and George Bailey captaining Australia for the first time on his home ground.
Clarke told the Nine Network X-rays had cleared him of any break but he could need an MRI scan.He has time on his side with the first of Australia's five one-day matches against the West Indies in Perth still nine days away.
Tuesday's match was being played in front of 8102 fans on a day it was announced a A$30 million redevelopment of the ground would boost the capacity from 15,000 to 19,500.